Skip to main content

The Large and Small of It

There is so much to write about, and so little time, but this amazing image of what has been called the "DNA Nebula" stopped me in my tracks. I ran across it in National Geographic News. NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope captured this infrared image of a spiraling, intertwining nebula in our own Milky Way galaxy that is some 80 light-years in length and is shaped like a colossal DNA strand.

In my classroom, we sometimes talk about what we term "Big Thoughts" - questions about time, eternity, space, infinity . . . this will make for some interesting discussion tomorrow - after we take the damn MAP test, that is.

"Nobody has ever seen anything like that before in the cosmic realm," said Mark Morris, professor of physics and astronomy at the University of California, Los Angeles, and lead author of the study (appears in this week's issue of Nature).

"Most nebulae are either spiral galaxies full of stars or formless, amorphous conglomerations of dust and gas, space weather. What we see indicates a high degree of order."

On the same day, I ran across this article about some MIT researchers that are using viruses to create miniscule batteries the size of a grain of rice.

By manipulating a few genes inside these viruses, the team was able to coax the organisms to grow and self-assemble into a functional electronic device. In their research, the MIT team altered the virus's genes so they make protein coats that collect molecules of cobalt oxide, plus gold.

The viruses then align themselves on the polymer surface to form ultrathin wires. Each virus, and thus the wire, is only 6 nanometers (6 billionths of a meter) in diameter, and 880 nanometers in length. The batteries made from these special altered viruses can store two or three times more energy for its size and weight compared to previously used battery electrode materials.

A report on this work is in the April 7 issue of Science.

(Speaking of small things . . . I was going to write about Dick Cheney coming to town, but these item are so much more interesting. I heard part of Cheney's speech on KY3 - he wasn't even reading it very well. Something about defending liberty . . . blah blah blah.)

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Self-Abduction of Tim Carpenter

It was right before Christmas back in 1998. If I remember correctly, the word character was being tossed around a lot by folks here in God's country. President Clinton was being skewered by a GOP-led special prosecutor about cum stains on a woman's dress, and Osama Bin Laden was establishing a nice foothold in Afghanistan. Locally, the George Revelle murder trial was going on, and police were working to find out who shot a local man five times and dumped his body in the downtown quarry.

That was the backdrop for a strange case of abduction on Springfield's south side. Tim Carpenter, associate pastor at James River Assembly, loving husband and father of two teenage girls, had come up missing. The founder of Christian Publishers Outlet and owner of Heir Press had failed to return home after a late night visit his Heir Press offices on south Campbell.

Police were sent to Heir Press the next morning only to find mysterious blood smatterings, a tan left shoe that belonged to Car…

Aunt Norma's Dark Past

I was thumbing through some old Springfieldians and came across an interesting article that delves into state senator Norma Champion's early days at KYTV as host of the Children's Hour. Champion parlayed her television notoriety into a city council seat and eventually defeated Craig Hosmer in 2002.

Her record as a legislator has been, arguably, one of the least distinguished and vacuous in southwest Missouri political history. You can read more about Aunt Norma at All About Norma.

Anyway, back to the crack investigative reporting on Aunt Norma from Issue #1 (Summer 1992) of the Springfieldian.

"Champion hosted the popular Saturday morning children's show "The Children's Hour", sharing the stage with puppets, pets and shy, embarrassed children.

". . . While Champion's service on City Council raised no question of character, a closer look at Champion's television years may reveal another side of the candidate. . . .The controversy centers around a…

Psychogenically Fugued Up

Here's part of Carpenter's long-distance phone conversation with Detective Hamilton on Christmas Eve :

TC: How did you get this number?
SPD: Tim, we need to talk to you.
TC: How did you find me?
SPD: We spoke with Melisa.

At this point, Hamilton noted a crack in Carpenter's voice (farewell sweet Melisa), and he paused for several seconds.

TC: Oh.
SPD: Tim, where have you been?
SPD: Tim, are you okay?
TC: I, uh . . . I, uh, don't remember.
SPD: You don't remember?
TC: No.

One needn't ask Tim Carpenter for his definition of hell. It began when he finally opened his apartment door to allow wife Carol and pastor Lindell into his secret refuge. According to Lindell, he "cowered like a wounded dog" and refused to recognize anyone. And then there was that long, dark drive back home to Springfield from Memphis during the wee hours of Christmas morning. Could that have been anything but hell on earth?

When Carpenter found out he was being taken to Cox North, he became very…